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Introducing The F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souveraine Vertical

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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Tourbillon Souverain, F.P. Journe has one-upped himself, launching a new tourbillon model that turns the regulator 90 degrees and doubles the rotating speed of the tourbillon for greater performance and visual effect. The aptly-named Tourbillon Souverain Vertical is a seriously complicated watch, so I figure we'll just walk through it bit by bit.

First off, the watch starts with a 42mm case in platinum or red gold. From there, you'll notice that there's not a real "dial" so to speak. Instead, the red gold mainplate serves as the bulk of the dial, with a white enamel sub-dial set into the mainplate for the hours, minutes, and seconds. Above that is a power reserve indicator to count down the approximately 80 hours you'll get. To the left of the time is an aperture that lets you peek at the remontoire d'egalité mechanism in action, a testament to the watch's chronometric purposes. Then there's the tourbillon itself. It rotates once every 30 seconds and sits perpendicular to the shape of the case. To get even more visual depth out of it, there are mirrored rings flanking the aperture on both front and back, funneling more light toward the tourbillon cage itself. The cherry on top? The watch has a natural deadbeat seconds mechanism too, meaning you get a deadbeat seconds complication without compromising on precision (this was first introduced to the Tourbillon Souverain in 2003).

If you want to learn more about the history of F.P. Journe tourbillons and how we got to the Tourbillon Souverain Vertical, this Reference Points story and video we did back in 2016 with Mr. Journe himself is a pretty great place to start. 

Initial Thoughts
I'm not usually a tourbillon guy (I've gone on the record about it multiple times), but damn does this look awesome. I think Journe probably could have gotten away with a simple dial or case update to celebrate the Tourbillon Souverain's 20th anniversary and collectors would still have gone crazy for whatever limited edition was the result. However, it's not that kind of thinking or watchmaking that's made F.P. Journe the cult favorite that it is, and the Tourbillon Souveraine Vertical is the sort of unexpected, outside-the-box thinking that we've come to expect from one of today's greatest living watchmakers.

In addition to my usual aversion to tourbillons, my first response to hearing about this vertical tourbillon was a simple "Why?" Would this really make any sort of meaningful difference or is it merely an aesthetic exercise? The explanation is shockingly obvious once you hear it: Some people wear their watches with deployant buckles and others prefer prong buckles. Depending on which you chose, your watch is oriented differently when you set it down. The position of the tourbillon in this watch ensures that you'll get the performance benefits either way. Consider me impressed.

My one complaint? Do we really need "Tourbillon Remontoir d'Egalité Seconde Morte" spelled out at the bottom of the dial? I want to wear a watch on my wrist, not a short story. But I digress...

The Basics
Brand: F.P. Journe
Model: Tourbillon Souveraine Vertical

Diameter: 42mm
Thickness: 13.6mm
Case Material: Platinum or 18k 6N rose gold
Dial Color: Clous de Paris red gold baseplate and white enamel sub-dial
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Lume: None
Strap/Bracelet: Black alligator strap with deployant buckle or pin buckle

The Movement
Caliber: Caliber 1519
Functions: Hours, minutes, deadbeat seconds, power reserve indicator, 30-second vertical tourbillon, remontoire d'egalité
Diameter: 34.6mm
Thickness: 10.86mm
Power Reserve: 80 hours +/- 2 hours
Winding: Manually wound (29 turns of the crown to fully wind)
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Jewels: 32
Total Components: 230 (without dial)
Additional Details: The small enamel hour dial is affixed directly to the 18k 4N rose gold mainplate, not a larger dial

Pricing & Availability
Price: CHF 244,500 (red gold); CHF 248,400 (platinum)

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